Gyms, Thugs and a Deathlist: 2019

How the nation’s gyms must love this time of year. Corpulent folk with expansive waistlines are currently in the process of arranging this year’s gym membership, allowing them to feel better about the season’s over-indulgence. Not only is it additional revenue for the gymnasia, but the wear and tear on their equipment will be negligible on account of the joiners’ good intentions evaporating by February.

Still others don’t even wait that long to abandon any idealistic resolutions. I've returned from a morning at a Magistrates’ Court, dealing with young men unable to handle their cups. Present with them were even less salubrious characters, who spent 2018’s last evening wandering their neighbourhoods equipped with wrenches, crowbars and screwdrivers, items they innocently ‘found’ on a pavement.

All this is nothing in comparison to Manchester’s New Year shenanigans. A 25-year-old thug is being held by police for slashing at people’s faces and stomachs with a 12-inch blade. Thankfully, British Transport Police restrained him from doing worse and are investigating his motives.

As a species, we are no better than our ancient ancestors in terms of the evil we perform. Whether this is violent attacks, attempts to steal or greed and gluttony, we remain the same. The Bible calls it sin, a term not well received today. Sin is not just a list of rules which are broken, but an entire mind-set or nature which inclines us to hurt others and disregard the Creator. Just as human sin is a constant feature of our universe, so is God’s grace and willingness to forgive. Be warned, though: just as sin’s days are numbered, so too the age of grace.

The website Deathlist predicts which celebrities are most likely to pop their clogs in 2019. Its preamble states:

This page shows a list of 50 celebrities which the DeathList committee has chosen for their likelihood to die during 2019. The rules of DeathList are summarised as follows: Candidates must be famous enough such that their death is expected to be reported by the UK media; Candidates cannot be famous solely for the fact they are likely to die in the near future and only 25 candidates can reappear from the previous year’s list. 2017 saw a record 17 deaths, 2018 could not live up to that standard with 12 deaths. How many can 2019 deliver?

In the UK, between 37,000 and 64,000 die each month. Most of these are ordinary folk, whose passing is unlikely to be noticed by Deathlist or others beyond their families and friends. Yet in eternity there is a death list- the names of those appointed to stand judgement for what they did in the body. People who read Christian blogs are unlikely to be burglars and terrorists, but each one of us has sins to be accounted for.

My prayer is that 2019 will be the year in which people find Christ, and know the pardon for sin that He freely offers. Your days really are numbered, and your sins are many, therefore:

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6

Image by Ichigo121212 from Pixabay